Tuesday, October 31, 2006

The Veil Between the Worlds

In the ancient Celtic world, time as they knew it, was divided into two halves. A dark half and a light half, expressing the cycle of life and death. The light half of the year was that of the people and the living and growing, the dark half belonged to the earth and to the spirit world and sleep. Samhain was celebrated as the beginning of a new year in the Celtic calendar. For the Celts, the dark always preceded the light instead of following it. Day began at dusk, not dawn. On this the last evening of the month of October, a seasonal feast marked the end of the "light half" of the year and the beginning of the "dark half" when it was believed that the veil between the world of the living and the spirit world was the thinnest. This season was thought to be the ideal time to contact and receive wisdom from deceased ancestors, and therefore a time for solitary introspection and reflection, a time to stretch the worldly boundaries by assuming a different identity to welcome the supernatural.


Monday, October 23, 2006


It is a clear liquid that's made in your mouth 24 hours a day, every day. It's made up mostly of water, with a few other chemicals. The slippery stuff is produced by the salivary glands. These glands are found on the inside of each cheek, on the bottom of the mouth, and under the jaw at the very front of the mouth. They secrete, or ooze, about 2 to 4 pints (or about 1 to 2 liters) of spit into your mouth every day!

Yay for saliva! 2 to 4 pints a day? Well, maybe. I had to fill 4 one-ounce vials at specified times on Sunday for a hormone test and I'd have never thought we made that much! This test was news to me. I'm used to peeing in bottles, or having blood tests, but spit tests? Who knew? No wonder the whole french kissing thing - mixing the hormones... starts to make sense doesn't it?

The really interesting thing to me, besides the fact that they test your spit, was that in preparation for this test, you can't put on face cream, and you have to sleep on a clean pillowcase and use clean towels. I had no idea that so many things were apsorbed through your skin! That really makes you think twice about deodorants, lotions, cleaning products!

Anyway, so at 7:30 a.m approximately 1 hour after I normally awaken (per the instructions) I took out my purple vial and the purple straw and before I brushed my teeth (ewww) and before my first cup of coffee... I started spitting. Ew.

So, you should know, I'm kind of shy about bodily functions. I ALWAYS close the door when I use the potty. I (used to, when I had one) reluctantly admit if I had my period and couldn't participate in some activity (hmmm... what would that be? Swimming? Sex? Yeah whatever.) I say that because, Downtown Dad got up about 7:20 and went into the kitchen to make coffee. I took advantage of this absense to get down to spittin' but he came back in - There I sat with a blue straw and matching vial. What could I do but explain? He left the room shaking his head.

So at 11 a.m. approximately 1 hour after breakfast... OK, so we sat around for a couple hours watching TV! I filled the green vial. I had an open house from 1 p.m. to 2:30, so that worked out perfectly with spitting in the blue vial at about 5:00. In case you are interested, my highly educated waiter-son Beezer came over for dinner - I made bacon wrapped scallops and green beans with parmesan cheese. So after socializing, I had to excuse myself around 10 to go spit into the orange vial.

All of the vials fit neatly back into the ziplock bag conveniently provided, and with the questionairre filled out, the authorization signed and the box closed and sealed with the enclosed sticker, I stored it in the refrigerator overnight, ready to pop in the mail with the prepaid postage sticker affixed.

There is really no point to this post other than to record this event. Another embarassing milestone.

Saturday, October 21, 2006

My Writing Candle

The match hisses alight, and gutters as it always does when it melds with the stub of wick on my favorite candle. I am patient, and await the leap of flame when it finds ignition and the small orange bud wavers to life in its violet wax canyon. I close my eyes and breath in the familiar fragrance of patchouli and lavender, inhaling the warmth of its light, letting it fill my soul. This stout candle came to me, heavy with hope and expectation on my 45th birthday, a gift from an encouraging spouse and bright-eyed children. Attached to it, along with a weighty pen and sturdy paper, a note in gaily lettered script was their insistent wish: Write. Above all. Write. So I light my candle and I try. Those wishes echo through my mind as with each inhalation I prospect for ideas, and those same wishes reverberate disappointment with each empty exhalation. But with each breath I discipline my thinking to move with that breath, and sometimes, an idea hisses in the darkness, guttering as it always does when it melds with the stub of my weighty pen on sturdy paper.

Waiting to Expectorate

This morning's doctor visit was helpful, and informative, but frustrating too - in the fact that once again, I must accept that there is no Quick-Fix or Magic-Pill to make me feel normal again. And really, if I think about it, that's ok. I have to remember that things I have to actually work at, end up working out better for me.

I like my women doctors and nurses. They patiently listen to my answers when they ask about symptoms as if I'm the only one who this has ever happened to; they cluck and chuckle sympathetically when I return to them for help after false assumptions of toughing this out, or trying something different; they nod wisely - yet non-judgementally as they once again set me on the path I know is necessary but will be full of ups and downs. The path began this time, with a visit to our Compounding Pharmacy to get a saliva test kit.

I didn't think the downs would begin so quickly though.... After my appointment, it was almost noon. I was on my way home to take Bear to lunch at an ecclectic restaurant which is only open from 11 til 2, and since the kids were off school this week, this would work out perfectly.

......when CRASH!

I'd been about 400 feet from an intersection, merging from my lane into the far left side of the two left turn lanes and Some Jerk who was behind me, took the opportunity to scoot by me on my right, before I'd completed my lane change - and skinned his car against mine. Even travelling at low speed, (at least I was) some of his cream colored Audi got on my maroon minivan, and vice-versa, and there we stood, in the middle of the intersection in the classic hands on hips stance, looking at the damage. We exchanged insurance cards and then decided to move to a nearby parking lot to call the police to make a report. Not that this makes any difference to me, but Some Jerk was a young man of middle eastern descent with a thick accent and an apparent disdain for women who weren't like him. Once the cop came, (in a town of 98% scandahoovians, one shouldn't be surprised at the fact that she was) a young fair haired woman, Some Jerk not only answered the questions she asked me, but took over the conversation. Can't people learn from the examples on Judge Judy and answer calmly, in turn and always with a deferential "ma'am" tacked on the end? His behavior earned him zero points in her book and she made that quite plain with her repeated curt reply of "sir, I'm not asking you." In the end, no citations were issued. We both got cards with each other's information on it to give to our insurance companys and we were free to go. As Some Jerk was getting into his car, the cop asked me to wait a moment and got out a diagram of the intersection to draw what actually happened. It was clear to me then that while she made no acknowledgement of guilt on either part, she believed my version as the true and correct one.

As this accident was occurring I'd been on my cell phone (OK, I didn't mention that in the report) leaving a voicemail for Downtown Dad. As Some Jerk hit me I'd yelled "Jeezuzkryst" and dropped my cell phone - voice mail still recording. So by the time we were done and I was safely parking my battered van in my driveway, about 45 minutes later, an understandably frantic Downtown Dad rang my cell again. After relating the whole tale to him, and assuring him I was alive, and not in jail, or in the hospital - I realized that I still had time to take Bear to lunch. It was after lunch that I started to feel a little - what I refer to as Wonky about driving. Every car was WAY too close to me; every turn was a set up for disaster; every time I backed up I was anticipating something going crunch. Hormones or just delayed stress? You be the judge.

Wanting only to stay home, I knew I still had to get over to the Compounding Pharmacy (which, by the way, is across the street from my accident site) to pick up the saliva test kit. This process is another learning experience for me. Apparently my hormone levels show up in my spit. This spit needs to be collected at a certain time in my cycle, and at specific times of the day and then mailed to the testing facility. So.... I'll end this post for today and go drink a lot of water, coz on Sunday, I got a lot of spittin' to do! Euuuu.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Just Another Thursday

I did FINALLY call my doctor to get me set up on the hormone replacement therapy. I go tomorrow and frankly, I can't wait. I thought I had hot flashes last year! Pshaw! They weren't nuthin' compared to the last couple of days. It's like someone is messing with my internal thermostat. First I am chilled, and I put on a sweatshirt, then two minutes later I am literally sweating, so I take it off... then it starts all over again. The weird thing is that it's mostly at night and in the morning. Poor Downtown Dad, he loves to cuddle, but it only lasts about 15 seconds before I'm throwing the covers off. I'm really hoping this can be fixed!

I also joined an online writing class. I always feel bouyed by their feedback - the imaginary people who populate my online world are always so nice. Jeez, there have to be at least 40 people in this class. I started out commenting on each of their introductions, but a person can only be just so friendly and after a while I had to stop. In other online classes the attrition rate is pretty high, so maybe a few will fall by the wayside.

The kids have had the week off, and while the house started out clean on Monday, we are just about at full on pig stye and it's only Thursday. The good thing is that they are getting along, so I really hate to nag. It's really been nice for me to have this time to write. You'd think with all this time I'd be able to come up with something entertaining, but nope. Maybe tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

So You Wanna Try Bioidentical Hormones

Last night my son Bear, who has always been very scientific, and who now has this wild hair idea that he wants to learn to fly a plane... at 13... finally plumbed the depths of Downtown Dad's knowledge with his questions, and had to go online to find his answers. He went directly to a site called www.soyouwanna.com, and printed out an 8 page narrative with indepth information, hot links and steps to accomplish the task. In my naieve optimistic way, I visited the site, and searched hopefully for something on menopause, hormones, bioidentical. Nothin! I felt a little like Dorothy when the wizard has finished handing out hearts and diplomas and testimonials... there was nothing in the 'soyouwanna' bag for me.

But this only strenthens my notion that there's a great need for blogs like this, chronicaling women's journeys through this crazy time of life. Truly, after reading Ageless, I realize that the feelings, symptoms or thoughts I have are little signposts along the road. They may not make sense at the time, but maybe viewed in retrospect or from a different perspective, a pattern may emerge. At least thats what I hope.

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Today I had a cheese sandwich

So I tried to make a new blog on MSN's spaces. Heck I can't even figure out how to post to it! That stuff is nonsense.

So, since every day I whack myself upside the head and say 'why didn't you just write down your feelings yesterday, then you'd have something to build on?' I figured I'd just go ahead and write down my feelings from today.

I'm reading Suzanne Sommers newest tome, Ageless. Not that I'd really ever seek out the knowledge of Chrissy from Three's a Crowd, but having seen her talk about her book on one of the morning news programs, what she had to say really struck a chord in me. It's all about hormone replacement, and it makes a lot of sense. Last year at this time, I was going through major mondo stress because we had two mortgages and one house was not selling! This stress, coupled with the beginning stages of perimenopause caused me to think that I was headed for the looney bin. Well, once the house sold, and I got some sleep and exercise and fresh air and drank water once in a while instead of vodka, things started to look a little better. But here we are in October again, and darned if I'm not feeling the hot flashes, the glowering resentment of practically anyone who dares interrupt what I'm doing - even if its vacuuming - and the loss of interest in anything! Its starting to look like a cycle. So I'm really interested in the bioidentical hormone replacement therapy she talks about. The only thing that bothers me is - well two things... this looks expensive, and it looks like this is a long term committment.

OK, that's backdrop number one - two be built on in later posts. And now for backdrop number two....

I really think I want to write. A story, a really truly novel. I get dumb fragments of ideas and they are starting to bug me. Like little imaginary salesmen knocking on my door when I'm doing really important stuff,... like vacuuming (see backdrop number one). I MUST MUST MUST start writing these little fragment salesmen down.... and, as usual, when my fingers area firmly engaged in the asdf jkl; my mind is a blank. BUT! With this post as a backdrop, I can post ideas and not have to delve into the tedious pre-story I always feel obligated to divulge before the idea germ can be born.

Backdrop number two - done. Backdrop number three... ah yes, like the third ghost in A Christmas Carol, more mercurial and harder to pin down....

I think that it may be a combination of the previous two - this need in me to write down what happens in my life and feel like it's private, but yet there's the chance that some anonymous person may read this and comment and yes, I have to admit its the feedback that I simultaneously crave and fear.

OK - so thats it for now.